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Post Doctoral Research Fellow

University of Massachusetts Boston
UMass Boston

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Job Details

Job no: 510355
Position Type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: Biology
Pay Grade: No Pay Grade
Date opened: 13 Oct 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: 10 Nov 2021 Eastern Standard Time

General Summary:

The Byrnes and Schaaf labs at UMass Boston are seeking a postdoc to begin at their earliest convenience as part of the team (Nima Pahlevan, Rodrigo Garcia, Marc Borrelli, Tom Bell, Bob Chen, Arthur Elmes) for a NASA Funded project, “Using Hyperspectral Imagery to Assess the Effects of Warming on New England Kelp Forests”. The postdoc will be to work with the project team to 1) utilize hyperspectral satellite imagery from DESIS and other sources to identify kelp in the shallow subtidal of the Gulf of Maine, 2) coordinate with project scientists to validate the work, and 3) utilize deep learning to attempt synchronize short-term records from hyperspectral instruments with longer-term measurements from multispectral instrumentation. The position is for one year with the possibility of renewal for up to three depending on performance.

This position requires expertise in multiple fields - remote sensing, deep learning, data science, and global ecology, all of which are highly valued in industry. As such, and to keep in line with the NASA postdoctoral fellowship program, the position comes with a starting salary of $61,000 with a 3% raise per year contingent on performance as well as full benefits (see

Examples of Duties:

  • Acquire, process, and utilize hyperspectral data from DESIS and other imagery sources
  • Write code and algorithms for long-term processing of hyperspectral imagery into GIS layers of New England kelp forest
  • Write Deep Learning code to compare hyperspectral imager to Sentinel-2 and/or Landsat data
  • If the incumbent is qualified and desires to do so, accompany field campaigns to acquire validation data on SCUBA
  • Give presentations at national and international conferences
  • Write manuscripts of results
  • Present at a departmental research seminar
  • Interface with the relevant NASA DAAC to archive project data and code.


A PhD in either Ecology, Remote Sensing, Marine Biology, Environmental sciences, or other related disciplines before starting the position is required. Strong quantitative, statistical, and programming skills are necessary. Previous experience with remote sensing is required, and familiarity with hyperspectral imagery is highly recommended, although the postdoc will work with Co-Is Pahlevan and Garcia early in the project to get up to speed on the work. Experience with machine learning and/or deep learning techniques is highly favored. Knowledge of kelp forest ecology in any system is not required, but will help the postdoc achieve more rapid success.

Part of the project involves other members of the project team using SCUBA for validation. If the postdoc wishes to incorporate that into their work, they are required to have AAUS or equivalent certification.

Additionally, the incumbent must be

  • Proficient with R, Python, or other programming language;
  • Have the ability to follow oral and written instructions;
  • Have a strong attention to detail;
  • Have a strong background in record keeping and experience with or interest in data management; Github experience strongly preferred;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Experience or desire to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • Application Instructions:

    Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three references.

    Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date.

    Salary Range: $60,000 - $61,000 (Commensurate with experience)

    This is a non-union exempt position. This is a grant funded position with a current end date of December 31, 2024, subject to renewal contingent on funding and university needs.

    All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

    UMass Boston requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to confirm proof of their vaccination status. Exemptions from the vaccine requirement will be permitted only for qualifying religious or medical reasons. Regardless of vaccination status, you must wear a face covering in public indoor spaces on campus.

    Applications close: 10 Nov 2021 Eastern Standard Time


    Working at University of Massachusetts Boston

    The University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities. The scenic waterfront campus is located next to the John F. Kennedy Library, with easy access to downtown Boston. 

    The second-largest campus in the UMass system, UMass Boston combines a small-college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students easily interact with professors because most teaching occurs in small class sizes. Ninety-three percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

    UMass Boston’s academic excellence is reflected by a growing student body of nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s eight colleges offer more than 100 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. The University Honors Program serves 300 students who thrive on intellectual challenge. Enriched courses probe more deeply into theory or venture further into application.

    UMass Boston’s diverse student body provides a global context for student learning, and its location in a major U.S. city provides connections to employers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education, offering students opportunities to gain valuable in-school experience via internships, clinicals, and other career-related placements.

    More than 100 student organizations — including clubs, literary magazines, newspaperradio stationart gallery, and 16 NCAA Division III sports teams — offer a rich campus life. Students live throughout Greater Boston and in apartment communities just steps from the campus, and enjoy the rich amenities, cultural attractions, and educational opportunities that make the city the biggest and best college town in the nation.

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